Un Ovale Nero (A Black Oval), 1968
LiteratureA. Addamiano in F. Sardella, ed., Turi Simeti. Catalogo Ragionato, Milan, 2017, p. 544, no. 230, illustrated.
ExhibitionsMilan, Galleria Cadario, Turi Simeti, 1968
“The elliptical form reflects my nature. The oval is soft. In the area of the oval the surface gains an excitement, a vibrancy, the light gives it a depth.”—Turi Simeti, 2017
Turi Simeti, a protagonist of Italian Spatialism and member of the Zero group, had a particular affinity with the ellipse. Un Ovale Nero, executed in 1968, exemplifies his distinctive approach to formalism, which culminated in the motif of an oval protruding from beneath the surface of the canvas. Owing to the minimalism of Simeti’s work and his resolute focus on simple shapes, light and shadow play a critical role in the perception of his canvases. Similarly to Fontana and other postwar Italian artists associated with the Zero movement, Simeti experimented with depth and visual experience. His canvases, with their dynamic geometric patterns echoing the physical properties of relief sculpture, become fully three-dimensional objects, thus transcending hundreds of years of Italian tradition which posited the canvas as a surface on which illusionistic images were simply painted.
Although many of his works deploy patterns of ovals, in Un Ovale Nero the viewer’s attention is drawn to a single shape. An elevated and decentralised oval is here rendered upon a black surface, and the interplay of monochromatic colour and distilled form on this relatively small-scale canvas invites focus and silent contemplation. Simeti’s works are generally monochromatic and produced in various colours, although typically, his black and white canvases are the most well-known. From the 1990s onwards, he expanded his oeuvre into increasingly intense colours to include yellow, green and red. As Simeti himself once noted, “there are so many possibilities, and the light always acts independently of the colour of the work.”
The influence of other post-war artists such as Manzoni, Bonalumi and Fontana is evident across Simeti's oeuvre. In 1965, his work was exhibited alongside other Zero artists in Fontana’s studio in Milan in an exhibition entitled ZERO Avantgarde. Over the decades, Simeti persisted with his minimalist approach. He employed the elliptical motif throughout his long career and it thus became emblematic, lending his works an instantly recognisable quality.
The artwork described above is subject to changes in availability and price without prior notice. Where applicable ARR will be added.